Almost two years have flashed by since Faultline Online Reporter last covered Net Insight, but at IBC last week we discovered that the Swedish IP video vendor has finally given its True Live video synchronization software a name, calling it Sye, and also struck an integration deal at the show with Ericsson for the UDN (Unified Delivery Network) content distribution service.
We get the impression that Net Insight has struggled to win customers for its True Live product, not due to the technology itself being flawed as the demos we have been shown look impressive, but simply because of the demand from broadcasters to have a perfectly synchronized video ecosystem across multiple screens is not high enough.
Sports broadcasters have unfortunately settled on there being a noticeable delay and aren’t yet willing pay through the nose to drive this down to near perfection. However, Net Insight told us at IBC that it has been looking at expanding Sye into the e-sports gaming market – a space where cross-screen synchronization is perhaps in higher demand, albeit a much smaller market than major live sports.
Net Insight will be hoping that Ericsson’s UDN can change that, claiming that by using infrastructure inside service provider networks and therefore distributing content closer to end users, it provides a superior performance to traditional CDNs. Another key component of the UDN is opening up new monetization opportunities such as ad insertion, which Per Lindgren, SVP of Live OTT at Net Insight, said can tap into the programmatic market if a customer wishes.
The UDN is really a turbo charged global CDN with the main differentiator being that it can provide end to end service and offer guaranteed QoS with the help of telco partners, distributed across key markets around the globe. For the crucial last mile Ericsson has been putting in place revenue sharing arrangements with its broadband service provider partners, such as China Telecom, SingTel, Hutchison Global Communications, Telstra and Vodafone. The UDN is then pitched as a fully-managed global CDN service where Ericsson deploys equipment inside the operator’s last mile networks. Ericsson then manages the CDN and business operation including monetization, giving the network owner a revenue share.
Sye hasn’t yet been given the real scalability test, as Lindgren told us in Amsterdam that its maximum proof of concept of 50,000 concurrent users was only semi-scaled. For this, it partnered with AWS back in July, where it set up a multi-CDN system for the STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship) Live app, primarily routing traffic through IP only with overflow traffic going via AWS, with Elemental handling on-premise transcoding, but we were told Sye works with any of the major transcoders. See the separate AWS story in this issue for a discussion on the scalability dilemma.
A garish Formula 3 racing car was on show at the Net Insight stand at IBC, but Net Insight is yet to win over the racing franchise, now owned by Liberty Global, but racing is the perfect example of where the advantages of the True Live system come into play. Other than Tata Communications, UK gambling firm Bet365 is the only public customer of Sye, or more accurately a collaborative partner. Sye was integrated into the Bet365 app in April running on a betting CDN from SIS (Scaleway Infinite Storage). Net Insight has two patents approved and five patents pending relating to synchronization.
In a sign of the times, Net Insight recently dropped the pricing for its Virtual Nimbra VA, offering a lower entry level cost threshold. This is a specialist router which intelligently manages jitter in IP packets, and Net Insight then shifted this video delivery to the internet and in doing so developed packet resend technology and error correction.
Marcus Bergström, GM of UDN at Ericsson, said, “By resolving the latency and synching issues, content and service providers can now create a truly immersive live streaming experience where social interaction on the second screen is harmonized with viewing on the first. Our UDN allows content providers to further monetize and leverage their content in totally new ways while opening it up for service providers to directly participate in the OTT value chain.”
Lindgren added, “Live events – and especially live sports events – generate the most money in broadcasting. However, the need to adapt to each user’s connection speed has made it difficult for the operators of OTT services to fully capitalize on these. By pairing our technology with Ericsson’s global network of UDN partnerships, we are well equipped to overcome this challenge.”